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From competition to the foundational economy

For thirty years, the British economy has repeated the same old experiment of subjecting everything to competition and market because that is what works in the imagination of central government. This book demonstrates the repeated failure of the 30 year policy experiments by examining three sectors: broadband, food supply and retail banking. It argues against naïve metaphors of national disease, highlights the imaginary (or cosmology) that frames those metaphors, and draws out the implications of the experiment. Discussing the role of the experiments in post-1945 Britain, the book's overview on telecommunications, supermarkets and retail banking, reveals the limits of treatment by competition. Privatisation of fixed line telecoms in the UK delivered a system in which the private and public interests are only partially aligned in relation to provision of broadband. Individual supermarket chains may struggle but the four big UK supermarket chains are generally presented as exemplars because they have for a generation combined adequate profits with low price, choice and quality to deliver shareholder value. The many inquiries into retail banking after the financial crisis have concluded that the sector's problem was not enough competition. In a devolved experiment, socially-licensed policies and priorities vary from place to place and context to context. However, meaningful political engagement with the specifics in the economy will need to avoid losing sight of four principles: contestation, judgement, discussion, and tinkering. While others can be blamed for the failure of the experiments, the political responsibility for the ending and starting another is collectively peoples'.

Under-investment and confusion marketing
Andrew Bowman, Ismail Ertürk, Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, and John Law

privatization, the sector is still dominated by BT, whose business model is about turning legacy infrastructure into distributable cash for shareholders; while BT’s competitors are all, for one reason or another, equally investment averse. Hence the private sector is not building a future-­proof high speed broadband network with fibre to the premises across the UK. Confusion marketing is used by all players to push product bundles of fixed line broadband; while BT is spending funds that could be applied to network extension on buying sports rights so as to increase its pay TV

in The end of the experiment?
Christopher T. Marsden

% target (i.e. to allow it to slip into 2016) and an extra £250 million was set aside to push the end goal out to 95% by 2017. 45 The government also confirmed that ‘superfast’ (VDSL) broadband would cover 88% by end-2015. BDUK put out a new tender in September 2013, seeking ‘as many suppliers as possible’ to help it spend £250 million to extend fixed line broadband

in Network neutrality
Christopher T. Marsden

and Android/Google Play. 4 Alongside their walled gardens, these IAPs enforced monthly data caps preventing their customers having unlimited use of the Internet. Fixed-line walled gardens failed in view of the easy access to the Open Internet at increasingly low cost offered by broadband access. Continued attempts to maintain walled gardens since 2006 have focussed on both ‘negative’ and ‘positive

in Network neutrality
The aftermath
Lucy P. Chester

the refugee influx, was not always reliable. The boundary announcement came late, but not, for most, too late. For those who crossed before the award’s announcement, however, as well as those who did not know the exact location of the boundary line, the border was an uncertain zone rather than a fixed line. These early refugees could not know exactly where one country ended and the other began; only

in Borders and conflict in South Asia
Open Access (free)
Reading SimCity
Barry Atkins

alternative or parallel universe in addition to that datum universe in which that alternative choice is ‘really’ enacted. We might experience our universe in terms of linear progression driven inexorably forward along a single fixed line, but all possibilities nevertheless ‘happened’ elsewhere. One reason that it is difficult to prove this hypothesis, of course, is that we have no access to such variant universes. As a writer of fiction, Pratchett tells us, he is not so limited – he has been able to select the most satisfying of the alternatives for the purposes of his

in More than a game
Open Access (free)
Christopher T. Marsden

Oettinger ( 2016 ). 56 Ofcom, UK home broadband performance, November 2015: the performance of fixed-line broadband delivered to UK residential customers, 2016. 57 Ibid . 58 Hill

in Network neutrality
Chris A. Williams

supervision role of the sergeant, or even the inspector. The overall picture of the adoption of fixed-line communications is one in which the police institutions remained dominant: they were able to fend off hard sells from the private sector; they adopted technology to fit their own needs; and they were if anything over-enthusiastic in their embrace of systems which promised to fit existing operational needs. The relationship was not one-way, however: in faster written communication within the hierarchy, in the expansion of potential verbal conversation, and in the direct

in Police control systems in Britain, 1775–1975
Imaginary, history and cases Introduction
Andrew Bowman, Ismail Ertürk, Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, and John Law

turnover of £18 billion and pre-­tax profits of £2 billion. After privatisation, BT inherited the state’s monopoly telephone network which has since been opened up to competition in fixed line and broadband. What happened after BT was privatised is an interesting story because this is a fast-­ moving sector where technologies change and investment has been required with the growth of mobile telephony and broad- The 30 year experiment  21 band. However, there was also enough revenue from telecoms users to meet stakeholder claims. These circumstances are different from

in The end of the experiment?
Digressive copy clerks
Sharon Lubkemann Allen

that has emphasized his blindness and muteness. Aside from one stunned, blinking, silent moment after meeting with the ‘important person’, he does not stop seeing and speaking until he dies (and not even then, insofar as his accusations reverberate as rumour). Akaky’s directed speech is based on a fixed line of responsibility (the policeman’s responsibility to perceive and apprehend the thieves, as later the important personage’s responsibility to pursue the matter, etc.). But, in its indirections, hesitations, repetitions and ellipses, it reflects his realization

in EccentriCities